Hotter makes progress on its partnership push

Hotter Shoes owner Unbound Group says it is making progress on its partnership strategy as it looks to create an online multi-brand retail platform for the over-55s.

The AIM listed company revealed it has secured “a number of partner brands” ahead of a full launch of its new platform in September, following a ‘soft launch’ in the summer. They are yet to be announced.

Unbound also reported that Skelmersdale based Hotter, its core trading business, had performed strongly in Q1, delivering a double-digit increase in revenue against the same period last year as well as an improvement in gross margin.

However, in its trading update the business added: “Hotter has achieved this strong performance despite the macroeconomic backdrop of rising inflation, supply chain challenges and the impact of the Russia/Ukraine conflict.

“The board believes that the outlook for the external environment continues to look challenging for the remainder of this financial year, the performance highlights the strength of the Hotter brand, the resilience of the business model and the ability to adapt at pace.

“The group aims to continue mitigating some of these risks while continuing to grow.”

Unbound says costs are being tightly managed with marketing, variable and fixed cost efficiencies being delivered as revenue continues to grow.

And it says it believes its ability to manage its cost base, its right-sized omnichannel model and in-house manufacturing give it the capability to adapt to the challenging market conditions.

The group’s growing customer database, currently at the 4.6 million mark, represents around 30 per cent of the UK’s 55-plus female population.

Initially it plans to launch its partner brand offering within footwear and apparel categories followed, “in due course” by a wellness offer.

Ian Watson, chief executive, pictured, said: “I am delighted that the progress we have made in transforming Hotter continues to be translated into improved financial performance.

“The development of the Unbound Group platform is gathering pace and we have secured a number of exciting launch partner brands within footwear and apparel.

“We are engaged in positive discussions with a number of additional potential partners that will further develop our footwear and apparel offer and launch our wellness proposition, to be followed by other target categories in phased implementations.

“We continue to be guided by our unique insight of our consumer base as we curate a range of products specifically for our target audience.”

Hotter Shoes is one of the UK’s leading specialist footwear brands, selling more than 1.4m pairs of shoes a year.